First of all, I just love that the 2013 Stanley Cup Final is going to be an "Original Six" series. It is the first time since 1979, so these things are very rare.
If you look at these two franchises and all that they've been able to accomplish, the fact that this is the first time they've met in the Final is crazy. You think of the history of both franchises, and the iconic players who have played in both places -- Bobby Orr is the first one that comes to mind.
It is an unbelievable experience, not only for the players, the coaches and everybody associated with the teams, but the fans and all of us who are fortunate enough to work in and around the game. I think it is going to make for a special Stanley Cup Final.
Looking at Boston, I love the way the Bruins are playing. After they were able to get out of the noose against the Maple Leafs, they've been outstanding. Tuukka Rask has been outstanding the whole time, by the way.
Chicago has been able to turn its franchise around by emulating Detroit. By that I mean puck possession, good two-way play, making plays offensively, being good offensively, not necessarily running guys through the boards but playing more of a puck possession and skill-type game.
The Hawks rebuilt their team through the draft and with some good trades and those great kids, of course, but it was all with an eye toward playing the Detroit Red Wings' style. Obviously with Scotty Bowman coming aboard as a senior advisor and having his son Stan run the show there as GM, certainly there is a lot of Detroit DNA in the Chicago Blackhawks, and it has shown in how they rebuilt the team and won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and how great they were in the regular season.
The Marian Gaborik trade has really helped the New York Rangers. Gaborik is a premier player and a huge goal scorer, but right now based on the way the Rangers play -- and I'm going to get into that more in a little bit -- the trade has really helped them.
They were short on depth. They have some star players, but the Rangers had lost a lot of their depth up front. Those guys [they got for Gaborik] have come in and played exceptionally well, particularly Derick Brassard. He has been really good for the Rangers, and has helped slot guys in and given them some of the depth they lost when they made the Rick Nash trade.
They did that trade at the expense of their depth, and then Brandon Prust didn't re-sign, Ruslan Fedotenko, who was a good player for them, left, they traded Mike Rupp -- they had some depth on the third and fourth lines last year that they didn't have this year.
There are way more goals being scored off faceoffs in the NHL than ever before.
The Carolina Hurricanes scored twice in the first period Tuesday and both were just seconds after one of the Staal brothers won a faceoff in the Pittsburgh Penguins' zone. The first was a power-play goal, and the second was a thing of beauty. Eric Staal won the faceoff back to his defenseman at the left point, Bobby Sanguinetti, who moved slightly to his right and snapped a shot through traffic for a goal.
Staal won the faceoff and moved to his right to provide a screen. The most underrated part of the whole play was forward Jiri Tlusty bumping Pittsburgh's Beau Bennett right after the draw -- this prevented him from getting out to cover Sanguinetti in time.
A lot of people talk about "puck-possession hockey," especially with the Detroit Red Wings intheir heyday. Well, it is pretty tough to play "puck-possession hockey" if you don't have the puck. It is up for grabs on a faceoff, and you either have it or you're chasing it.
Learn more about the personalities of your favorite NHL players. WATCH NOW ›
This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.